Former US President Barack Obama has joined NBA Africa as a minority owner and “strategic partner”.
“In Africa basketball has the power to promote opportunity, wellness, equality and empowerment across the continent,” he said.
NBA Africa, the National Basketball Association’s Africa arm – has backed a new pan-African basketball league, which held its inaugural season in May with 12 teams from 12 countries.
It has also launched programmes aimed at improving the livelihoods of young Africans while raising awareness on gender-based violence and promoting girls’ education.
It is this area where Mr Obama will be involved – helping advance the NBA’s social responsibility programmes.
“In this capacity, President Obama will have a minority equity stake in the new venture, which over time he intends to use to fund Obama Foundation youth and leadership programs across Africa,” the NBA said.
Mr Obama said basketball had the power to bring people together and empower the young.
“Even though I didn’t have the talent to play at the highest level, basketball still shaped my life. It taught me how to work hard, how to compete, how to be part of a team,” he said a video tweeted by NBA Africa about the partnership.
The former president said that when he had visited his father’s village in Kenya two years ago to open a basketball court: “It was clear to all of us that Africans are poised to show the world that they’ve got game.
Watch the NBA’s video of Barack Obama: